Department of Radiology, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, USA
Eponyms abound among the roster of abdominal hernias. This report will discuss these pathologic protrusions identifying their location and relating them to the physician and/or surgeon who discovered them. This first part of this two-part essay will be confined to the upper and middle regions of the abdominal cavity.
Eponyms abound among the roster of abdominal hernias. This report will discuss these pathologic protrusions, identifying their location and relating them to the physician and/or surgeon who discovered them. This first part of this two-part essay will be confined to the upper and middle regions of the abdominal cavity.
In order to master the incredible wealth of material a physician must know, one cannot succeed in this profession without a good memory. Often, retention is favored by the nomenclature of anatomy, physiology and pathology where the name of the entity relates to a salient feature of its identity. If forgotten it can often be deduced because it acquired the label it goes by through a logical process, related to form or function or both. Thus, a muscle that bends the wrist is the flexor carpi ulnaris-once you get attuned to the Greek or Latin etymology, the reason for its naming becomes clear.
Yet, also in Medicine we are sometimes bedeviled or at least burdened by eponyms, names honoring the discoverer of a process, site, dysfunction or disease. There is no rhyme or reason to help us retrieve such names, once we have forgotten them. However, bear in mind that the accumulation of knowledge has occurred along a time continuum. Hence, it is important to remember the brilliant observers of yesteryear because, if not for their insights, we might know less today about how to recognize and treat illnesses and injuries. So eponyms persist, lending a semblance of immortality to the investigators of past ages, helping us marvel at their cognitive breakthroughs.
One place where eponyms abound is in the abdomen, where anatomical structures and pathologic syndromes honor their discoverers . The various hernias in this region are particularly eponymic, probably because most of them were recognized as peculiar bulges accessible to the discerning eye in the era before X-ray and other means of looking inside the body were developed. In fact, most abdominal hernias were first reported in the interval between 1600 (just after Paracelsus) and 1895, the year the first radiographic image was obtained.